FOUR EXPERIMENTS INVESTIGATED whether metrical subdivision affects perceived beat tempo. In Experiment 1, musically trained participants tapped in synchrony with the beat of an isochronous pacing sequence and continued tapping the beat after the sequence stopped. Continuation tapping was slower when the pacing beat was subdivided than when it was not. Experiment 2 found the same effect when the subdivisions during synchronization were self-generated. The effect was neutralized, however, when subdivisions were tapped during continuation. In Experiment 3, an effect of subdivision was found in a purely perceptual tempo judgment task. Experiment 4 tested musicians and nonmusicians in matched perception and reproduction tasks. Musicians showed the expected effect of subdivision in both tasks, whereas nonmusicians showed a larger effect in reproduction but a smaller effect in perception. Overall, the findings suggest that subdivided inter-beat intervals are subjectively longer than empty intervals, in agreement with the "filled duration illusion" in psychophysics.
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